Are you tired of hearing people complain about the heat yet? Well, sorry, but I live in Virginia and it’s hot here. I am literally counting down the days until Fall because I HATE this heat with a passion. No wonder I was so miserable when I lived in Florida! Fortunately, the fact that I have a real Fall and Winter to look forward to makes Virginia much more bearable, even when it’s 100 degrees outside. I had a whole different recipe prepared to post, but it involved chile powder and a 400 degree oven and I just couldn’t post it. It’s too damn hot outside to even think about turning on the oven that high.
Instead, I decide to make the complete opposite. It involves no cooking (well…unless you count boiling a cup of water) and it’s frozen. And it has my new obsession: watermelon. I’ve always loved watermelon, but at the grocery store earlier this month I realized that I hadn’t bought one in years. I have no idea how that happened, so I’ve been trying to make up for it by eating as much watermelon as possible. I didn’t even know they had seedless watermelons now, that is how behind I am!
Watermelon is one of things that comes right to my mind when I think about summer. I have so many memories of summer camps and picnics when I was kid and there was always watermelon there. The other thing that comes to mind when I think of summer? Lemonade. So it made perfect sense to combine the two things into a watermelon lemonade sorbet. This stuff is magical: it’s so easy to make and it doesn’t contain any dairy at all, yet when it’s churned it turns smooth and creamy like a soft serve ice cream. But unlike ice cream, it’s completely fat free so you don’t have to feel guilty about eating it. And you don’t need an ice cream maker either. If you have one, you can use it for faster results but otherwise you just need to freeze the watermelon lemonade mixture and churn it in a food processor or blender until smooth, that’s what I did!
If sorbet isn’t your thing, you can take an even easier route and turn this into popsicles. The recipe is no different, just pour it into the popsicle molds and freeze. The magical ingredient is unflavored gelatin (look for it by the Jello) which I assume is what makes the mixture creamy when you churn it and it also keeps the popsicles from being rock hard.
I’m really excited to find this recipe because it’s so incredibly simple to make and it’ll be easy to adapt it to use with other fruits and fruit juices. In fact I’m already planning a strawberry-orange version for later this week. I love ice cream, but rarely let myself buy it, so this is the perfect substitute for me. I imagine I’ll be having it a lot since we have at least another month of this horrible heat to get through.
Watermelon Lemonade Sorbet or Popsicles
adapted from Eating Well
Dessert | Servings: 6
Prep time: 15 min | Total time: 1 hour 30 min – 6 hours
- 6 cups watermelon chunks (seedless watermelon is best)
- 1 – 1 1/2 cups (about 3-5 lemons) fresh lemon juice*
- 3/4 – 1 cup sugar**
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup boiling water
*I started with 1 cup of lemon juice and then added a bit more at a time until I thought it was lemony enough.
**I didn’t think the sorbet was that sweet so I’ll be bumping it up to 1 cup sugar next time I make this. But I have a major sweet tooth, so your mileage may vary!
- Puree watermelon with lemon juice in a food processor or blender. Pour through a fine mesh stainer to strain out any seeds or fibers.
- Whisk together sugar and gelatin in a medium bowl.
- Pour the boiling water over the sugar mixture and stir well to dissolve the sugar.
- Pour the sugar mixture into the bowl of fruit juice and mix well.
For Sorbet: Chill the mixture about 30 minutes or until cold. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Alternatively, freeze the mixture in a shallow metal cake pan or ice cube trays until solid, at least 6 hours or overnight. Break into chunks and process in a food processor until smooth.***
For Popsicles: Chill the mixture about 30 minutes or until cold. Pour into popsicle molds or ice cube trays and freeze until solid.
***If you only want 1 or 2 servings of sorbet, break off only as much as you need (1/6 is a serving) and leave the rest in the freezer for another time. The processed sorbet is best served fresh and will get too hard if you try to freeze it afterward.